Seniors embark upon college application journey


Senior approaches gate to college applications, where there is a wall with the words “College Apps” emblazoned across it on the other side.

The amount of fear being experienced by Granite Bay High seniors continues to build as the college application season continues to crank up.
Students’ sky-high goals and the parental academic expectations that loom over them offer neither comfort nor provide sanctuary from the stress.
Seniors scramble to join application-cushioning clubs. They crouch over laptops like a dog to a bone while they scour the far ends of the internet filtering through too many community service projects to count. They waste large amounts of scratch paper and precious 0.5 pencil lead all to produce a flawless essay.
Every day they find themselves slaving over their college applications with the desire to portray themselves as the perfect student who is well-diversified and nowhere near the emotional breakdown in which they constantly find themselves.
While application season is difficult and and irritating, it is a necessary step in the journey to college. The quality of students’ college applications are the deciding factor in where the first four years following high school will be spent.
Putting off the completion of applications is a very popular and tempting decision – however, the time to submit has arrived.
The Common Application is one of the most popular application methods and is completed by the majority of high school seniors who plan to attend a four-year university.
This method of applying has been and continues to be a favored method because of the efficiency of the process.
The purpose of the Common Application is to make the application process easier by requiring students to complete a single application that is accepted by more than 700 individual colleges.
High school seniors find this process preferable because it requires less time and effort than having to complete separate applications for every college where they apply.
But while completing the Common Application once may not be as rigorous as filling out separate applications, it is still no easy task.
The amount of information required by the Common Application is significant, but many students find the process rather easy to comprehend.
“Everything was straightforward,” said Shianne Dingeman, a GBHS senior who found the Common Application to be quite user friendly.
The Common Application is very thorough and requires the individual input of grades, classes and extracurricular activities.
“(Going) through all your grades, going back and forth and entering every single one from all four years,” is one of the worst parts of the process,” senior Logan Fechner said.
Not only is the Common Application considered the ultimate method by students, but it has also found favor in the eyes of teachers.
Every year, starting as soon as the first day of school, teachers are bombarded by students asking for letters of recommendation.
While the letter composition process varies from teacher to teacher, the Common Application made the process easier. In other processes, teachers are required to send the letter of recommendation to each college the student wishes to apply to. This creates a burden that falls upon the shoulders of the teachers who then must decipher the contact information and submission processes for each college. The Common Application was created in a way that lifts a large portion of the burden off teachers’ shoulders. It does this by allowing them to simply attach the completed letter to the specific student’s account and although the student will not be able to read it, every college that the specific student applies to (through the Common Application) will have access to the attached letter.
“Submitting one letter, one time, is a nice convenience,” English teacher Shannon McCann said.
The whole purpose of a letter of recommendation is to provide colleges with an accurate description of the academic and social qualities of a certain student.
The Common Application takes this into account and provides teachers with a section in which they can fill out a “rating” page. This page allows teachers to place students below, above and anywhere in between average on questions that concern the academic capabilities of the student.
“It makes it really nice to be able to create a fast snapshot of the student,” said McCann, who appreciates the helpfulness of this feature.
In the past few years, the Common Application has made rather large changes in the college application process making it easier for students, teachers and colleges to communicate.
Many colleges have very specific requirements for application, not all of which are fulfilled by the Common Application. It is because of this that these colleges often have their own websites used by students to apply.
Due to the complexity of specific college websites and the amount of work required to complete applications for several colleges, this process is not nearly as popular as the Common App.